The Trap

I’m convinced no one ever wants to have an abortion. Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a particularly pleasant procedure to have. I can’t imagine any woman upon finding out she’s pregnant thinking, “yippee! I get to have an abortion! This is going to rock!” I’d bet that’s not how it works. Putting aside for a moment the fact that it ends a human life, an invasive operation that involves picking apart a little fetus inside you just sounds awful. Abortion is awful. And while some people would say abortion is necessary, a human right, an important medical procedure, I really don’t think anyone would say it’s great. Abortion is not great.

Last semester was quite a busy one for our club at Guelph. One event we hosted was called Silent No More, a campaign where women came in and shared their regrets about their abortion experiences. The morning of this event we advertised in our university centre by surveying students and asking them what they thought about the abortion experience, and whether they thought regret was a common and big issue for women. One girl whom I chatted with answered my questions with wariness, cautious not to agree with me or my pro-life views. When I asked her if she thought all women who get an abortion actually want one, she answered with a quote:

“No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

Funny enough, it turns out she was quoting Frederica Mathewes-Green, the former vice-president of Feminists for Life of America. I didn’t know that at the time, and I’m guessing neither did she. Her quote did get me thinking though. The point she was trying to make was that yes, abortion sucks, but it needs to be available to women who find themselves trapped in a pregnancy they see no other way out of. Women don’t want to have abortions, but they have them because they feel like they must in order to survive.

To continue with the animal trap analogy, if one third of the women in our country were getting caught in bear traps and gnawing off their own legs, is the appropriate response of our society to provide them with the tools? Make it free and support them without judgement as they remove their own limbs and go on with life never the same? Hopefully everyone else sees that there should be a more positive solution here. We have to ask ourselves, “is there any way we can help free these women from these traps without cutting off their legs? What do they need, and how can we help them?”

Maybe making abortion more available to a scared pregnant woman isn’t the most helpful thing to do. If knowing that there are services, resources, and support available changes a pregnant woman’s decision to go through with her pregnancy, then isn’t that saying something? If a women chooses abortion because she feels she has no other option, then it’s not actually a choice. This might sound contradictory to say, but I think our campuses needs to be more pro-choice, providing not only for the needs of women who choose abortions, but also for the unique needs of women who choose life, because honestly…I bet that’s not easy.

So to the student who shared with me that quote—if you’re right, then we need change. If women have abortions for the same reasons an entrapped animal gnaws off its own leg, why don’t we do something about that? Women deserve better than this single ‘choice’ that they’re trapped with. Being pregnant ISN’T the bear trap; being pregnant and thinking abortion is the only option is the trap. Being pregnant and alone is the trap. An animal that gnaws off its leg is truly hopeless, but if someone was there to remove the trap, there’s hope in that. There’s life in that.

Can’t we offer that to women?

What if that would change things?

[If you’re pregnant and unsure of the resources and support that’s available for you in Guelph, email us at uoglifechoice@gmail.com or visit the following sites: http://michaelhouse.ca/ http://www.beginningsguelph.ca/ ]

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5 Responses to The Trap

  1. Thank you for a sensitive and caring entry. Wishing you continued support in helping women with their pregnancies.

  2. Kyle David says:

    I admire that you are suggesting alternate choices for people who are thrust into unwanted/unexpected pregnancies. That said, there will always exist extenuating circumstances where abortion is the only option, and I think that it would be unjust to tell the people in those circumstances that they can’t have the abortion that they need. I read in a different article you posted that in your ideal world abortion would be recognized by law and the general population as murder, but in that world a pregnant 13 year old girl would be forced to carry a child to term, likely resulting in her death. I realize that that isn’t a common occurrence, but it does happen and for your club to ignore that there are times when abortion is the only option and to try to criminalize it is appalling. These people are already in bad situations, why make life harder for them?

    Allow me to suggest an alternative to criminalizing abortion: Allow abortion clinics to exist. The existence of abortion clinics allows people who require their help to get it, and it does not make abortion the only option. There will still be adoption and support groups, and the abortion clinics will not force people who don’t want an abortion to get one. It is still the mothers choice what to do. And if it happens to be determined that delivering the child would likely result in the death of the mother, then they have the choice of getting an abortion. Without the abortion clinic, the mother would die in childbirth, but apparently you are OK with that. Why is the life of the child more sacred than the life of the mother?

    I would like to point out at this point that as a man, and one whose isn’t looking to become a father at that, I will never have to make the choice of getting an abortion or not, so I am not worried about your efforts taking away any of my personal rights. I am however worried about how your club may take away that choice from the women in Ontario and Canada at large.

    If any of the members of your club get pregnant, I will respect whatever choice they make because it is their life, their body, and their future. Likewise, you should respect the choice that pro-choice women make, because the decision doesn’t affect you; it is THEIR life, THEIR body, and THEIR future, not yours. I understand why your group takes the stance it does, it’s because you think abortion is wrong, which is fine, you are allowed to think it is wrong. You can think it all you want, and you can make choices in your life based on that stance. If you get pregnant, you can chose to put the child up for adoption, or even to care for the child yourself, it is after all your body, and your choice. You can’t choose for other women, you can’t force them to carry the child to term or to put that child up for adoption because that is their body you are talking about. How would you feel if other women forced you to get an abortion against your will? If they caused a law to be passed where underage pregnancies had to be terminated? But pro-choice advocates don’t propose those kinds of laws, they propose that the OPTION exist for those who need it.

    On a side note, I talked with some people at your club’s table in the UC and they told me that Canada had no laws preventing women 9 months pregnant from getting abortions without providing any reason. I was interested in this topic, so I looked it up and they were completely wrong. In Canada the longest cut off period for abortion clinics is 24 weeks, BUT if the mother provides evidence of very extreme of extenuating circumstances, they will be given the abortion they require at that point.

    Honestly, if your group only suggested that students who get pregnant consider their choice very seriously before going through with an abortion I would not have written anything here. I only care at all about your group and what it does because of the comment that abortion should be legally recognized as murder and the lies about actual laws. You can tell people to be careful and to be 100% sure of their decisions all you want, but when you start lying about laws and trying to make new laws about this so that people in already terrible situations be put in jail for trying to set THEIR life straight, then we have a problem. In the end, I do Identify as pro-choice because extenuating circumstances happen, and I think you are allowed to chose to keep the child as much as someone else should be allowed to have an abortion if that truly is the only option.

    • alexsibiga says:

      Hi Kyle, thanks for the comment! Let me address the concerns you’ve posed.
      Firstly, you say there will always be circumstances where abortion is the only option. I certainly don’t think so and definitely hope not, especially if women don’t actually want them. If they wish they had other options, we should focus on making those available rather then making abortion more readily available.
      You bring up the really tough circumstance of a 13 year old facing an unplanned pregnancy as well as pregnancies that likely result in the death of the mother. Those are really hard situations, and I wouldn’t wish them upon anyone, but let me ask you a few questions. Are there really any cases where the only way to save a mother’s life is to dismember and destroy the child within her? Is our medical technology not advanced enough that if a 13 year old was pregnant, we wouldn’t have the medical support to help her carry the child to a viable term then deliver the child just old enough to survive along with his mother? Have you also considered that perhaps having an abortion at 13 years old might have some serious emotional trauma for that young girl? I hope you see that we don’t think the child’s life is more sacred than the mother’s life…why do you think the mother’s life is more sacred than the child’s? If your reasons are because she’s older, or because she doesn’t depend on anyone, then I’m afraid your reasons are discriminating based on age and ability…
      I appreciate that as a man you respect women and their right to make choices, but what exactly is the choice of abortion? It’s the choice to end a human life, and as a woman, I’m sad you believe women might actually want that and you’re willing to support them in that decision. Continually you agree in your comment that she’s carrying a child- should not that child have a right to do what he wants with his body? Certainly he can’t if in the name of autonomy his life is ended.
      On the note about abortion laws in Canada, the club members at our table weren’t wrong. In the Canadian constitution there is no law criminalizing abortion at any point of the pregnancy. In most provinces there may be gestational restrictions in place, but they are not enforced by any law, so if a pregnant woman found someone willing to terminate her 8-month old fetus for the reason of perhaps the fetus’ gender, no one would be charged for any crime. Maybe that doesn’t happen often, but is it okay to even happens once? Maybe bank robberies don’t happen often, but there is a law in place to protect the victims of that crime. I hope that clears that up- we weren’t lying to you!
      Last thing! You brought up an old blog article- I didn’t write that one that you’re referencing but I will comment: we believe abortion should be legally recognized as murder because the definition of murder is “the premeditated killing of a human being.” Is the preborn child not a human being? If you answer no, then when does it become human? When it’s born? At 24 weeks when no one will abort it? I hope you can see that those answers are arbitrary, and the definition of when human life begins should definitely be based on science, not subjective or public opinion! Though, more than we want abortion to be made illegal, we want abortion to be made unnecessary. If troubling circumstances cause a woman to seek abortion, we want society to address those circumstances, not simply provide the abortion. When talking to pro-choice women about the issue many don’t want to take away this option for women because of circumstances, much like you, but most of them admit that abortion isn’t a good thing and ideally abortion should be unnecessary because it does hurt women. Providing abortion doesn’t get us to that end goal, does it? Women deserve better than that, and certainly so do preborn children.
      Okaaaay, sorry that was so long! Thanks again for the comment. All the best to you!

  3. Kyle David says:

    You’re right. We should make abortion illegal like murder. Who really has the right to say a child doesn’t deserve to be born? No one, that’s why I think you should also make the sentence 20 to life for using birth control, since that also stops children from being born. Those aren’t “just sperm and eggs”, they’re children, should not those children have the right to do what they want with his bodies? Certainly they can’t if in the name of autonomy their lives are ended. Unfortunately some people are content to casually murder on an almost daily basis(the pill), and why not? It’s not like anyone is holding them accountable(like they should be).

    You see, when you start asking “Is the preborn child not a human being? If you answer no, then when does it become human? When it’s born? At 24 weeks when no one will abort it?” and then follow it with “I hope you can see that those answers are arbitrary” you need to realize that your idea of when life starts is also arbitrary. Why does life start at a fetus? Why not at 48 cells? Why not 1? why not an individual sperm and individual egg just before contact? Why not earlier?

    “If troubling circumstances cause a woman to seek abortion, we want society to address those circumstances, not simply provide the abortion”
    I would agree with this, but since I don’t believe that we can eliminate those circumstances instantly, until such a time as we do eliminate all those circumstances abortion should remain an option that won’t get you thrown in jail.
    “Providing abortion doesn’t get us to that end goal, does it? “and neither does throwing people in jail who already met the unfortunate circumstances. I’m not suggesting that the only thing we do to help is allow abortions, we should still be working to mitigate, and eliminate where possible, the things that lead to abortions. I fail to see how imprisoning women who had abortions gets us any closer to eliminating the causes of abortion.

    “Are there really any cases where the only way to save a mother’s life is to dismember and destroy the child within her?” Yes, unfortunately there are. I appologize for lacking a direct link to the news story(if you really want to find it, I heard about it on this youtube channel- https://www.youtube.com/user/sxephil), but here goes: a couple of years ago a woman was rushed to a hospital because she was going into labor. They realized early into the procedure that the mother would die unless the child was aborted, as the doctors reported to the press after this incident . They did not abort the child because abortion was illegal in the area this took place. They let it be born and the mother died. Unfortunately, due to complications, the infant also died. The mother was allowed to die, when they could have done something, but it was all for nothing in the end. Upholding that law did not save the child’s life or the mother’s.

    It is because I know that complications like that exist that I am pro-choice. For the record, the ONLY time I am for abortion is in a situation like the one detailed above. I agree that alternatives to abortion should be widely available AND since these circumstances exist, abortion should not be illegal. So regarding your question “”Have you also considered that perhaps having an abortion at 13 years old might have some serious emotional trauma for that young girl?” I say trauma is better than death.

    “Is our medical technology not advanced enough that if a 13 year old was pregnant, we wouldn’t have the medical support to help her carry the child to a viable term then deliver the child just old enough to survive along with his mother?” you seem to be under the delusion that the entire world has access to the best medical tools, materials, and free universal healthcare. Though I don’t know for sure, I could accept that Canada perhaps has the medical technology to help the 13 year old. However, that does not mean that india, or africa, or china, of brazil has the ability to help that child carry a child of her own to term safely.

    When I talk to you, and people in your group regarding circumstances when abortion is the only option, that is what I am talking about. “I hope you see that we don’t think the child’s life is more sacred than the mother’s life” In situations like the news story, a choice must be made. In the story, the child died but that was not the doctors’ intention. Their intention was to save the child instead of the mother. That choice hinges on whose life you value more, and considering all I’d heard from your group’s members and what I read on this site, I came to the conclusion that you would value the life of the child above all else since you are SO against abortion as to criminalize it. When I hear people say that there is never a reason for abortion in the future, I will consider that they are unaware of how terrible circumstances can get.

  4. Kyle David says:

    I found another story with the same ending. This happened in Ireland where abortion is illegal:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/savita-halappanavar-death-irish-woman-denied-abortion-dies_n_2128696.html

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